Skip to content

Three things we learned from USA’s victory over Cuba

Jul 13, 2013, 6:53 PM EDT

Kyle Beckerman, Chris Wondolowski, Edgar Castillo AP

You pulled through guys… but you had us scared for a moment there.

Following the U.S. national team’s 4-1 comeback victory against Cuba on Saturday night, there are plenty of interesting narratives emanating from another comfortable victory (in the end) for Jurgen Klinsmann’s team.

Here we highlight three things we learned from the win over Cuba that saw the U.S. seal their passage to the Gold Cup quarterfinals.

Let’s break it down.

1. Chris Wondolowski must play more for the U.S. national team

Okay, so he’s scored six goals in his last three games against a weakened Guatemala outfit, Belize and Cuba… I can hear you haters already, but listen up. Wondolowski is a pure finisher, and his stock has risen dramatically during this Gold Cup. Arriving on the pitch during the second half, Wondo immediately made several intelligent runs in behind Cuba’s defense that weren’t spotted by the U.S. midfielders. Then he pounced after two fantastic passes from Kyle Beckerman and Edgar Castillo and finished with his usual aplomb. He did more during his short time in the pitch than Herculez Gomez did in the whole first half. He needs to play a bigger role in the World Cup qualifiers and the World Cup. Who would be better coming off the bench with the US down 1-0 with 10 minutes to go in Brazil next year? Nobody. The USA need a super-sub and an impact player. “Wondowlowski” is your man.

2. Defensive issues continue to crop up

Yes the USA are scoring bucket loads of goals – 16 in their last three games if your counting – but defensive mistakes are still happening. For Cuba’s opener Castillo got sucked into the play and exposed the whole U.S. backline by getting beaten to the byline. Then captain Oguchi Onyewu was slow to react and let Jose Alfonso nip in front of him to score. Sluggish defending cropped up, and these defenders playing this way means they’re unlikely to oust any of the USMNT regulars. For large spells the U.S. dominated Cuba, but defenders need to stay switched on. Look what happened away to Jamaica last month when Jermaine Beckford scored from a set piece to equalize late. Silly mistakes will cost the US if they keep cropping up between now and World Cup 2014.

3. Klinsmann is getting incredibly good at altering the approach mid-game

Poor ball retention, lethargic movement and a lack of pace all played a part in the USA’s pedestrian first half display. But whatever Klinsmann said to his side at halftime obviously worked as they came out rejuvenated and finished off the Cubans. The speed of play increased dramatically in the second period and the US were able to get the ball wide quicker. Brek Shea disappointed out on the left and his replacement Jose Torres offered much more drifting inside. Kyle Beckerman and Stuart Holden were more positive when in possession and Castillo and Joe Corona kept driving forward at every opportunity. Klinsmann must’ve urged his side to attack during his locker room chat at the half. The U.S. were more direct and the movement was phenomenal between Donovan and the midfielders in the second half. Cuba couldn’t handle it. More of the same please, Jurgen.

More: USA beat Cuba 4-1 to make Gold Cup quarterfinals

More: Wondolowski reveals hidden “W” in jersey, as misspelling does the trick again

Latest Posts
  1. USMNT legend McBride, Jaguars president helping select Fulham manager

    Sep 30, 2014, 11:25 AM EDT

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Jacksonville Jaguars Getty Images

    Fulham owner Shahid Khan is taking his time to make sure he gets things right this time around.

  2. Confirmed: Rooney out three Manchester United matches after red card

    Sep 30, 2014, 10:38 AM EDT

    Britain Soccer Champions League AP

    Some called for his Manchester United captaincy over his lack of discipline, but two words: Roy Keane.

  3. Premier League player of the week – Round 6

    Sep 30, 2014, 10:00 AM EDT

    Hull City v Manchester City - Premier League Getty Images

    Which player ensured it would be back-to-back honors for a single team in the Premier League’s player of the week battle?

  4. PST’s MLS Player of the Week: An L.A. Galaxy guy for sure, but who?

    Sep 30, 2014, 9:13 AM EDT

    FC Dallas v Los Angeles Galaxy Getty Images

    The result of the weekend, however, was L.A.’s 4-0 defeat of the New York Red Bulls, and several players deserved Man of the Match honors.

  5. Reports: Pardew safe at Newcastle for now despite another loss

    Sep 30, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Stoke City v Newcastle United - Premier League Getty Images

    Maybe, just maybe, Newcastle will win against Swansea City this week and take another step toward getting well.

  6. FC Santa Claus earns promotion, team broadcasters go ballistic (video)

    Sep 30, 2014, 7:52 AM EDT

    fcsantaclaus

    FC Santa Claus is bringing soccer matches to the good boys and girls of the Ykkonen.

  7. FIFA votes to eliminate third-party ownership

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:44 PM EDT

    Blatter AP

    Sepp Blatter confirmed FIFA voted strongly to eliminate third-party ownership in all professional settings, with a transitional period of a few years to be instituted immediately.

  8. WATCH: Men In Blazers recap derby weekend, visit with Brandon McCarthy

    Sep 29, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Men in Blazers Brandon McCarthy

    The Men discussed all things Premier League on this week’s episode, including Phil Jagielka, Wayne Rooney, and a Peter Crouch chicken dance.

  9. Miguel Herrera pumps up Mexico’s crop of youngsters

    Sep 29, 2014, 9:36 PM EDT

    Herrera AP

    With plenty of tournament success, the Mexican youth is turning the head of the senior team’s manager.

  10. Alan Pardew expects to have “serious conversations” with Mike Ashley

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:47 PM EDT

    Pardew Getty Images

    Things surrounding Newcastle’s managerial position have become increasingly untenable.

  11. Report: PSG’s under-fire Blanc could face axe without win vs Barcelona

    Sep 29, 2014, 8:01 PM EDT

    Blanc Getty Images

    If PSG fail to make serious noise against top Champions League clubs, Laurent Blanc could be on his way out of Paris.

  12. MLS salaries released, showing Kaka nets MLS-record $7.1 million

    Sep 29, 2014, 7:12 PM EDT

    Kaka Getty Images

    Making $400,000 more than anyone else in the league, Kaka is set to lead Orlando City into MLS with a colossal paycheck.

  13. Cardiff City owner Vincent Tan says he hopes to invest in MLS

    Sep 29, 2014, 6:33 PM EDT

    Tan Getty Images

    With MLS movement at a high, the controversial Malaysian expressed his wishes to enter the US realm

  14. Olivier Giroud signs new Arsenal deal through 2018

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:51 PM EDT

    Giroud Getty Images

    He’s out with a broken tibia, but Giroud still remains vital to Arsenal’s long-term success.

  15. Report: Chivas USA to suspend operations for at least 2 years

    Sep 29, 2014, 5:10 PM EDT

    Chivas logo

    According to an ESPN report, Chivas will take at least a 2-year break to allow for a rebrand to occur and a new stadium to be built.

  16. Stoke City 1-0 Newcastle: Crouch’s header sinks Newcastle, Pardew deeper (video)

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:54 PM EDT

    Crouch Getty Images

    Peter Crouch’s early header put Stoke up early as Alan Pardew’s job security took another hit.

  17. Adnan Januzaj scores unbelievable free kick for Manchester United U-21’s

    Sep 29, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT

    Januzaj Getty Images

    He hasn’t managed to pick out a start for the Red Devils’ senior side, but getting minutes for the U-21’s, he showed off his bright talents.

  18. Christian Benteke set to make Villa return after nearly six-month absence

    Sep 29, 2014, 3:51 PM EDT

    Benteke Getty Images

    After playing over an hour for the U-21 team this weekend, Paul Lambert will have Benteke available for selection against Manchester City.

  19. Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsey out injured for a month

    Sep 29, 2014, 2:54 PM EDT

    Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Getty Images

    Gunners lose star midfielder for a month after hamstring injury.

  20. Watch Live: Stoke City vs. Newcastle United (Lineups and Live Stream)

    Sep 29, 2014, 2:15 PM EDT

    Britain Soccer League Cup AP

    All eyes on Pardew. Watch Stoke host Newcastle, right here.

Featured video

Week 6: Premier League recap